OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – JULY 25

Panama Covid-19 update – on 24 July, yet another record day of vaccinations, this time over 103,000 vaccinations with Pfizer in one day, or 2.4% of the population.

The fight against the third wave continues, with 866 new cases reported today and 7 new fatalities. There are 13,195 active cases, with 123 in ICU and 665 in other wards.

Any modest contributions for my time and ongoing expenses are welcomed!  I have a page where you can do so, and where contributions start as low as $3, at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

25 JULY 2021

MONEY LAUNDERING AND DRUG TRAFFICKING NETWORK OF LEBANESE HEZBOLLAH

On 25 July, the Weekly Blitz carried a feature on Hezbollah’s money laundering and drug trafficking operations, including in what is known as the Tri-Border Area (TBA), where the frontiers of Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay meet. It refers to a supply line of multi-ton shipments of cocaine from Latin America to overseas markets in order to generate funds for Hezbollah.

https://www.weeklyblitz.net/counterterrorism/money-laundering-and-drug-trafficking-network-of-lebanese-hezbollah/

ONTARIO SECURITIES COMMISSION (OSC) GUIDANCE ON ENFORCEMENT AND INVESTIGATIONS

A release on Mondo Visione on 25 July reported that the OSC had published guidance to assist individuals and companies that participate in initial assessments, and investigations being conducted by its Enforcement Staff, intended to facilitate cooperation and efficient investigations.  The guidance is said to provide added transparency on the processes and timelines that individuals and companies can expect when interacting with Enforcement Staff, as well as Staff’s expectations of those involved in assessments and investigations. The roles of the OSC include to provide protection to investors from unfair, improper or fraudulent practices.

https://mondovisione.com/media-and-resources/news/ontario-securities-commission-publishes-guidance-on-enforcement-investigations-a/

http://www.osc.ca/

CYPRUS SHIPPING CHAMBER SAYS THAT CYPRUS-FLAGGED SHIPS VIOLATE US SANCTIONS AT THEIR OWN RISK

On 22 July, Insurance Marine News reported that the Chamber had said that Cyprus-flagged ships that violate US sanctions do so at their own risk, but Cyprus is not legally obliged to enforce sanctions imposed only be the US.  This followed reports that the Cyprus maritime and business sector was being used by shipowners in the EU to register and flag tankers involved in Venezuelan oil trades.

https://insurancemarinenews.com/insurance-marine-news/cyprus-flagged-ships-violate-us-sanctions-at-their-own-risk-cyprus-shipping-chamber/ 

GLOBAL PORT CONGESTION DETERIORATES WITH 116 PORTS REPORTING DISRUPTION

On 22 July, Insurance Marine News reported that congestion at ports because of Covid-19 and its knock-on effects has seen an increasing number of containerships idle, as they wait for berth spaces to open up.  As of 20 July there were reported to be 328 ships idling in front of ports around the world, with 116 ports reporting challenges such as congestion.

https://insurancemarinenews.com/insurance-marine-news/global-port-congestion-deteriorates-with-116-ports-reporting-disruption/

UN REPORT ON ISIL (DA’ESH)/AL-QAIDA SANCTIONS

On 21 July, the UN Sanctions Committee on this sanctions regime published its 28th report for the UN Security Council.  It said the threat from ISIL/Al Qaida continues, and refers particularly to parts of West and East Africa, where affiliates of both groups can boast gains in supporters and territory under threat, as well as growing capabilities in fundraising and weapons, for example, in the use of drones.  In Iraq and Syria, the core conflict zone of ISIL, the group has evolved into an entrenched insurgency.  In Central, South and SE Asia, affiliates of ISIL and Al-Qaida continue to operate notwithstanding key leadership losses in some cases and sustained pressure from security forces.   It is also reported that funds assessed to be readily available to ISIL have declined from estimates in the hundreds of millions of dollars to between $25 million and $50 million, still leaving the group with significant resources.  Terrorist finance facilitators in Syria, Iraq and neighbouring States continue to operate despite international efforts to locate and eliminate their activities through the pressure of sanctions.  Money service businesses and hawala networks remain the group’s primary method for sending and receiving funds.  Meanwhile, suspicious transactions involving so-called “neobanks” (i.e. banks that operate exclusively online) were cited by several European States which raised concerns that such institutions had facilitated the transfers of large sums in support of ISIL and Al-Qaida supporters in Europe and abroad. These financial institutions reportedly lack effective sanctions-screening capabilities and are used by malign actors who seek to evade counter-terrorism sanctions listings that may differ across jurisdictions.  Concerns were also expressed over the greater use of cryptocurrencies, as well in areas of the world areas where artisanal gold mining is prevalent.

https://media-exp1.licdn.com/dms/document/C4E1FAQHdzul_9UtTNw/feedshare-document-pdf-analyzed/0/1627200971034?e=1627304400&v=beta&t=buNM940N0EK69cgryRTkR6W15aqScTwGhuIsvwW7gfo

CANADIAN-IRANIAN NATIONAL PLEADS GUILTY TO VIOLATING US SANCTIONS AGAINST IRAN

On 22 July, a news release from the US DoJ advised that, Arash Yousefi Jam, 33, an Iranian national living in Ontario (who conspired with others – including Abdollah Momeni Roustani, believed to be living and working in Iran) had pleaded guilty for his role in a conspiracy to export US goods to Iran in violation of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) and the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations (ITSR).  The defendants are said to have caused the goods to be shipped from the US through the UAE and to Iran in an attempt to hide the fact that the end users of the goods were located in Iran.  The goods included 9 electrical discharge boards, an CPU board, 2 servo motors and 2 railroad crankshafts.

https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/iranian-national-pleads-guilty-violating-us-sanctions-against-iran

COVID TRIGGERS A BOOM IN ELECTRONIC SIGNATURES

On 22 July, Outlook Money in India published an article saying that one of the biggest impacts has been on the process of getting business contracts executed – in simple terms – the signing of contracts and other approvals.  It says that electronic signing has been around for many years, but Covid-19 has proved to be the catalyst in increasing the adoption by “India Inc”. 

https://www.outlookindia.com/outlookmoney/fintech/covid-triggers-a-boom-in-electronic-signatures-8143

KLEPTOCRATIC REPUTATION LAUNDERING AND THE ROLE OF UNIVERSITIES

On 14 July, the Power 3 website carried a report by 2 staff of the National Endowment for Democracy’s International Forum for Democratic Studies.  It considers how wealthy kleptocratic benefactors can make contributions of opaque provenance as a way of laundering images and reputations.  It says, while foreign donations to universities are often completely legitimate and pose no harm, the authors of a recent paper from the NED observe that existing due diligence mechanisms are not always successful at filtering out donations that may have malign intent, such as undue influence or reputation laundering. That report highlights how kleptocrats use financial gifts, high-profile speaking engagements, and preferential admission to prestigious foreign universities to gain international legitimacy while deflecting attention away from corrupt and repressive policies within their home countries.

https://www.power3point0.org/2021/07/14/the-school-of-hard-knocks-kleptocratic-reputation-laundering-and-universities/

The NED paper is at –

https://www.ned.org/reputation-laundering-in-the-university-sector-of-open-societies-working-paper/

Any modest contributions for my time and ongoing expenses are welcomed!  I have a page where you can do so, and where contributions start as low as $3, at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

Author: raytodd2017

Chartered Legal Executive and former senior manager with Isle of Man Customs and Excise, where I was (amongst other things) Sanctions Officer (for UN/EU sanctions), Export Licensing Officer and Manager of the Legal-Library & Collectorate Support Section

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